Prior to his insertion as the starting quarterback of the Greyhounds, Pope languished behind six consecutive losing seasons and eight non-winning campaigns through the majority of the 2000s. His arrival in 2009 turned a 4-6 team from 2008 into a
6-4 program that won its last five contests.
Pope went 7-4 the following year and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2000, where it lost to eventual state champion Chattahoochee in the first round.
Frost’s 2011 senior season was one for the record books as he led the Greyhounds to a 10-2 record — the program’s first 10-plus win season — their third region championship, and a second round state playoff appearance for only the second time in school history.
A first-team all-state selection at quarterback, Frost completed 103 of 172 pass attempts for 1,668 yards with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. As the leader of the Greyhounds option offense, he also led the team in rushing, carrying the ball 129 times for 948 yards and 13 scores.
Frost was a player who put up huge numbers for the Greyhounds and his absence is expected to be felt.
“Holland meant a lot to the program and to athletics in general here at Pope,” coach Matt Kemper said. “He was a three-year starter for us and it’s a huge thing when a kid like that graduates. He was the engine that drove the car.
“There are a lot of kids trying to fill his shoes. We just need to evaluate each of them and take advantage of the skills they have and how they can help our program moving forward.”
Pope’s spring practice started ended Friday. Besides teaching fundamentals and running offensive sets, much of the time was spent evaluating Frost’s successors at quarterback for the upcoming season. Three players — Stephen Skruck, Sam Yarborough and Brett Lyle — are in the running and they each have their strengths.
Skruck, a rising junior, is the only one of the three with varsity experience within the Pope program. He was Frost’s primary backup last year and started in the game against Osborne, which the Greyhounds won 27-24 in double overtime. At 6-foot-3 and roughly 220 pounds, he’s familiar with the system and capable of running the offense.
“Skruck is a big, strong kid,” Kemper said. “He’s a physical presence in the pocket and can run the ball well, which fits in well with what we do.”
Yarborough, a rising senior, is a transfer from The Walker School, where he was the starting quarterback for the 3-7 Wolverines, completing 168 of 313 passes for 1,839 yards and 12 touchdowns with 20 interceptions.
“He’s a passing quarterback,” Kemper said of Yarborough. “He has good size too at about 6-4 and 220 pounds. He’s just not as fleet of foot as our other two guys.”
Lyle, a rising junior who is 6-2 and 190 pounds, is a little lighter than Skruck and Yarborough, but is also a little quicker.
“(Lyle) played (junior varsity) for us last year and he did a good job,” Kemper said. “All three guys bring something different to the table. We’re just in the learning phases with these guys. We don’t have to fully evaluate them because it’s just the spring. We have some time.”
Another focus for Pope has been tightening things along the offensive line. Frost’s command of the offense gave him free rein on when to run and when to pass. That isn’t expected to happen so soon with these quarterback candidates.
“Offensively, we’ll have to shift our focus a little bit,” Kemper said. “We’re bigger up front and will need the onus to be on that line. We have to play more assignment football than before because Frost made decisions in the backfield and the guys in front could move around.
“The offensive line will have to stay more focused on gap and pass protections until these new guys get settled in at running offense.”